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US supermarket chain to trial in-store robots

US supermarket chain to trial in-store robots

A US supermarket chain are planning to deploy robots in their stores to check for items that are out of stock.

The robot called Tally is being launched in a number of select Schnucks stores, where they will go around checking stocking levels and also verifying prices.

Dave Steck, Schnuck Markets' vice president of IT and infrastructure, said: "This is a big learning experience for us to really understand what the capability is."

The first Tally will be trialled in the company's Richmond Heights store before being rolled out in Town and Country and Kirkwood.

The robots - which have a digital screen and "eyes" to make them seem more friendly - stand 38 inches tall but can increase in height to reach the top shelves. When it notices an item is out of stuck, it will alert staff, who can then restock the shelves.

Tally has been created by Simbe Robotics and the robot can "perform the repetitive and laborious tasks of auditing shelves for out-of-stock items, low stock items, misplaced items, and pricing errors".

Simbe's CEO Brad Bogolea added to the St.Louis Post-Dispatch: "The goal of Tally is to create more of a feedback mechanism. Although most retailers have good supply chain intelligence, and point-of-sale data on what they've sold, what's challenging for retailers is understanding the true state of merchandise on shelves. Everyone sees value in higher quality, more frequent information across the entire value chain ...

"When it comes to the retail industry, shopper experience is everything. If a product is unavailable at the time the shopper wants to buy it, the retailer has missed an opportunity and disappointed their customer. Tally helps retailers address these challenges by providing more precise and timely analysis of the state of in-store merchandise and freeing up staff to focus on customer service."

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